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Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority has launched a public consultation on its strategy for how trees and woodlands are to be enhanced and used within the national park.
The draft trees and woodland strategy outlines how the National Park Authority and Scottish Forestry will guide woodland enhancement and creation within the national park to help meet important local and national targets.
The document sets out plans to deliver a wide range of benefits, including increasing woodland coverage, particularly of native trees, the creation of forestry sector jobs and promoting outdoor recreation activities to help improve the health and wellbeing of those visiting, living in and working within the national park.
The strategy supports outcomes and objectives detailed in the National Park Partnership Plan to widen social, environmental, cultural and economic benefits to communities and will help deliver both Scottish Government and national park priorities relating to how woodlands help to tackle climate change, and benefit biodiversity and sustainable development.
The forestry industry is vitally important to rural economies through the creation of jobs and skills development. Many opportunities for rural economic expansion are outlined in the strategy, including ways to improve woodland management skills and how to maintain and diversify the production of timber products, haulage and timber transport.
The draft trees and woodland strategy also highlights the growing potential and opportunity for communities to own or manage assets within the national park and deliver a variety of projects including community woodland projects.
Simon Jones, director of conservation and visitor operations at Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority, said: ‘The trees, both in the form of native woodlands and productive forests, are not only vital to ecosystems across the area but they are also of national importance both in terms of timber production and their rich biodiversity.
‘Our draft trees and woodlands strategy sets out our vision for how trees and woodlands will be protected and enhanced over the next 20 years and will help deliver a wide range of benefits for communities in the national park and across Scotland.
‘I would encourage anyone with an interest in trees and woodlands to get involved with this consultation and have their say to help us to shape the future of forestry within the national park.’
To read the draft trees and woodland strategy and respond to the consultation, go to www.lochlomond-trossachs.org/treesandwoodlands.